Importing Tomatoes

Q1.      How many tonnes of fresh tomatoes do we import?

A1.      Each year we import over 300, 00 tonnes of fresh tomatoes (as opposed to processed tomato products).

Q2.      What are the concerns about imported tomatoes?

A2.      There has been industry concern over oversupply brought about by imports.  This has resulted in low retail costs and poor returns for growers.

Q3.      How has the strength of the pound affected foreign imports?

A3.      The strength of the pound has increased the flow of cheap foreign imports.  Around 190,000 tonnes are imported from Spain and the Canary Islands, with a further 90,000 tonnes from Holland, 8,000 tonnes from Belgium, 9,000 tonnes from Italy, 5,000 tonnes from France and 3,000 tonnes from Israel.

Q4.      Where are tomatoes mainly imported from?

A4.      Tomatoes sold in Britain in the winter are often imported from Spain or the Canary Islands, traditionally trough the winter, but with the season being increasingly extended through the rest of the year.  In order to cope with the voyage, they tend to have thicker skins and are picked while green.

Q5.      What other countries are tomatoes imported from?

A5.      There are also imports from Holland, Belgium, France, Morocco, Italy, Israel, Portugal and South Africa.

Q6.      How are tomatoes grown in these countries?

A6.      Even in Spain, the sun does not always shine; most crops are grown in greenhouses covered in polythene.  


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